Andrew W.K., the eternal party monster, talks in-depth to Pitchfork‘s Ian Cohen about embracing celebratory music, selling gumball machines, and why “We Are the World” was such a big influence on “I Get Wet.” Enjoy an excerpt below and continue reading here.
Pitchfork: When you finally got into the studio to record I Get Wet, were there any songs or bands you wanted to emulate?
AWK: Whatever we could do to make it sound as big and triumphant as possible. Sometimes that approach actually worked against a feeling of glory or triumph or power, so it’s a tricky art. I’ve had a lot of amazing help, so many amazing producers and engineers and players and advisors who have been able to get it to that place. Because as long as you turn up any song loud enough, it’ll get that power. [With I Get Wet] it was usually very obvious and there wasn’t too much to think about; just lots and lots of overdubbing and making it sound as party as we could make it sound.
I had to have discussions with people who wanted the lead vocal sound to be more stripped down and naked. They said that more personality comes through that way, but I tried to make it very clear that it’s not supposed to sound like an individual. As a listener, you’re supposed to hear your voice in the song with a group of other voices and you’re supposed to already imagine that you’re playing the drums. I never wanted it to sound like a bunch of musicians or singers– I wanted the sound of the songs to be like one instrument.
One of the main inspirations was “We Are the World”, because that’s one of the first records I got where I specifically told my mom, “I want that song.” I was so amazed by all these people singing at once and I thought it was so cool that you couldn’t really tell who it was a lot of the time. It was this amazing mass of people working together to create this powerful sound, like an orchestra. In elementary school, we’d go on field trips to see the local orchestra play, and I thought it was incredible that all these people would get together and make this one sound. I really wanted the music to sound like that.